Women's History Month celebration resumes at RU
Radford University professor emeritus Dr. Mary Atwell presented a lecture on March 4 titled "Our Wretched Sisters: Gender and Executed Women."
The event, held in the Hurlburt Student Center auditorium, was one of many offered during the first week of the university's Women's History Month Celebration, which started March 1.
Atwell's lecture provided an in-depth look at the lives of the 15 women who have been executed in the modern era. The majority of them struggled with poverty, addiction and were represented by insufficient attorneys, her research revealed.
Prior to the presentation, President Penelope W. Kyle addressed the audience with a message of reflection, admiration and encouragement in recognition of the first week of Women's History Month.
"I look forward to celebrating with you the achievements and aspirations of women, past and present," President Kyle said. "We will also reflect on the many challenges these women faced and how they overcame these obstacles amidst extreme adversity. My hope is that as we hear these stories and share in this dialogue, we will all be inspired to follow in their tremendous footsteps."
President Kyle thanked the many people who helped organize the Women's History Month events.
"Your creativity and vision has continued to capture our interest and enthusiasm during this annual celebration. We are incredibly grateful for your efforts," Kyle said.
President Kyle testified to the importance of such a celebration as she reflected on her role as a member of the Governor's Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence. Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed President Kyle to the task force along with 29 other members in September 2014.
"I must tell you that participating in these discussions and meetings we have once, sometimes twice a month since last fall, has truly been eye-opening," Kyle said. "I am learning so much about our reaction to assault. It may not be what anyone thinks it should be."
She said that before she began sitting on the committee, she thought how easy it was to say, "Of course everyone reports sexual assault."
But after listening to survivors share their stories, she learned of how they were treated through the system and were oftentimes not believed.
"This is yet one more issue we must deal with to the best of our abilities on this campus," Kyle said.
The theme of this year's Women's History Month is "Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives," and President Kyle urged the audience to continue to participate in upcoming events.
"I cannot think of a more fitting way to honor this theme than by unifying as a campus community to actively engage in these activities," Kyle continued. "Together we can ensure that no woman - her hardships, her victories or her incredible journey - goes unforgotten."
The celebration of womanhood will continue through the end of the month with additional presentations, including the annual performances of "The Vagina Monologues."
President Kyle will be the featured speaker at the closing reception for Women's History Month, scheduled for April 1 in the Covington Center.